July 21 ANNEX | 823 Seymour St July 22
Christ Church Cathedral | 690 Burrard St
a celebration of queer love
Cor Flammae is: Leslie Uyeda, 2017 Guest Conductor Soprano
Kristen Allford Missy Clarkson Isabella Halladay Hilary Ison* Elyse Kantonen Larissa Loyva Diane Speirs
John Arsenault Eric Biskupski Michael Park Marcus Petrunia Aaron Purdie Nick Andrew Sommer* Paul Westwick
Ann Chen* Megan Dray Julienne Frenette sid hawkins Peggy Hua Sara Jellicoe Lau Mehes
Anuar Chain-Haddad Michael Frolick Joel Klein William Liu* Troy Martell Shane Raman Javier Rodriguez-Martin
Creative Team Managing Director, Website Missy Clarkson Print Design, Programme Amelia Pitt-Brooke Fundraising Director Aaron Purdie Associate Conductor Peggy Hua Repertoire Committee Shane Raman (Chair) Missy Clarkson Leslie Uyeda
Thank yous: Anna Anaka James Cheatley Christ Church Cathedral Angela + Darcy Clarkson Jordan Dannish Adam Dickson Early Music Vancouver East Van Graphics Morna Edmundson Heat Laliberte Catherine Lee Bryn Nixon Pat Patterson Aaron Purdie Cristie Rosling Belinda Siu Diane Speirs XY
Wardrobe Stylist Adam Dickson Volunteer Coordinator Becca Clarkson
Linda Webster Natasha Wright Stephanie Lam Paul Gorman Kate Campbell
Volunteers Peter Alexander Justin Barath Tamara Brown Ryan Cho Allan Gauthier Nina Horvath Edette GagnĂŠ Sarah McGrath Christof Milando Lee Newman Robbie Third
COVER PHOTOS BY ANNA ANAKA PHOTOGRAPHY | CONCEPT + WARDROBE BY ADAM DICKSON PRODUCED BY MISSY CLARKSON
A selection of works by queer composers celebrating love July 21, 2017 - ANNEX | July 22, 2017 - Christ Church Cathedral
“Aimons sans cesse; courons à la chasse”
Jean Baptiste Lully (1632-1687)
From Isis | Solos: Ann Chen, Hilary Ison, William Liu, Nick Sommer, Diane Speirs
O Saving Victim
Solos: Ann Chen, Hilary Ison, William Liu, Nick Sommer
Zachary Wadsworth (1983)
Fly Away I
Caroline Shaw (1982)
David Conte (1955)
Jeffrey Ryan (1962)
Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016)
Solo: Nick Sommer Solo: Elyse Kantonen
Love partakes of the soul itself “Twelfth Madrigal”
From The Unicorn, The Gorgon & The Manticore
Light: Unveiled Agnus Dei
Shane Raman (1978) Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007)
Hussein Janmohamed (1969) Samuel Barber (1910-1981)
Solo: Elyse Kantonen
Oracle of Spring À la claire fontaine Les Tisserands Dance to your Shadow
Mari Esabel Valverde (1987) arr. Stephen Smith (1966) Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) arr. Leslie Uyeda (1953)
Welcome Love is the beginning of our story. Queer liberation begins with love - our struggle to love openly and without persecution, and to love ourselves when the world tells us we are unlovable for being different. To think about love from a queer perspective is to accept heartache, loss and danger alongside joy, hidden treasures, self-discovery, community and survival. In seeking to love openly, we have found others like us, and created this imperfect and beautiful community in which we care for one another. It was this coming together that we sought when we started Cor Flammae - the desire to make choral music with other queer musicians, and to share this love of music with people who could see it through similar experiences. Thus, we are thrilled to be joined by this year’s guest conductor, Leslie Uyeda, whose work creating classical music that tells queer stories helped inspire the creation of this ensemble. A celebrated composer and conductor, Uyeda wrote Canada’s first lesbian opera, WHEN THE SUN COMES OUT, which premiered at the 2013 Queer Arts Festival. Her understanding of the unique value of queer classical music allows us to further explore its possibilities and aesthetics. It has been exciting to collaborate with her and create music informed by her perspective. Our repertoire this year brings us music by a range of artists: the creator of French baroque opera, the twentieth-century compositional giant who wrote the saddest music in the world, an innovative electronic musician who changed the way we listen, composers who write here in our city, and more. They moved through the world as openly queer people, or they were stuck in the closet, or they tried the patience of a king while finding or making room for love. We invite you to listen for these stories, and hope they speak to yours.
Cor Flammae acknowledges that tonight’s concert takes place on unceded Coast Salish territories, including those of the Musqueam, Skxwú7mesh-ulh, Stó:lo & Tsleil-Waututh nations.
Conductor’s Notes on Tonight’s Programme I am honoured to conduct Cor Flammae this season. Since leaving Vancouver Opera several years ago to concentrate on composition, I have truly missed working with a chorus. Making music with Cor Flammae these past three months has brought me huge happiness. I often wonder how my life would have been different if an organization like Cor Flammae had existed when I was young, but what a gift to have this choir in my life now. There are many places in the world where who we are is violently rejected, and where Cor Flammae would be neither accepted nor valued, if not forbidden. All the more reason for us to stand up and sing here – as ourselves, and to sing about love. We’ve chosen a programme that celebrates love in many of its expressions - joy and pain, supplication and light, intimacy and playfulness, and, as you’ll hear in the first piece this evening, arguments! We are blessed to be able to gather together, and to share our love of music and singing with you tonight. Thank you for coming. Long live great music and great music lovers!
Leslie Uyeda | During 20 years in opera, Leslie Uyeda worked as a coach, pianist and conductor with the Canadian Opera Company, L’Opera de Montreal, Manitoba Opera, Opera Hamilton, the Banff Centre and the Chautauqua Institute of Music in New York. Uyeda became Chorus Music Director at Vancouver Opera, where she also conducted several mainstage productions. Uyeda started composing at a very young age. A few years ago she left her positions at Vancouver Opera and the University of British Columbia to compose full time.
“Aimons sans cesse; courons à la chasse”
Jean Baptiste Lully (1632-1687)
Excerpt from Isis (1677) | Text in Old French by Philippe Quinault, Translation by Leslie Uyeda Staging: Diane Speirs with consultation from Catherine Lee of the Historical Performance Ensemble
Jean Baptiste Lully was a prominent French Baroque composer, credited with the creation of French opera as a genre. While born in Italy as a miller’s son, the talented youth was hired as the chamber boy to a young French noblewoman after her uncle was impressed by the fourteen-year-old Lully’s Mardi Gras street performance on the violin. While a talented violinist and guitarist, it was as a dancer that he caught the attention of Louis XIV, who hired him initially as a composer for court ballets and eventually as Master of the King’s Music. He collaborated on a new type of performance (the comédie-ballet) with the playwright Molière, but after the two fell out, Lully worked with librettist and playwright Philippe Quinault, with whom he wrote many of his operas, including Isis. With Quinault, Lully reworked the Italian operatic form to suit French tastes and dramatic convention. His innovations inﬂuenced composers of Baroque and Classical eras, including Bach and Handel.
Nymphs: Ann Chen, Nick Sommer, Diane Speirs Syrinx: Hilary Ison Pan: William Liu | Piano: Leslie Uyeda
Married to Madeleine Lambert, the daughter of a prominent composer and singer, Lully carried on affairs with both women and men, and was constantly dogged by rumors of scandal. With ties to Versailles’ homosexual circle surrounding the king’s brother Philippe, Lully escaped punishment for his same-sex activities for most of his career, as Louis XIV was unwilling to enforce the death penalty or exile at court. Roughly based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Isis combines figures from Greek and Egyptian mythology, telling the story of how the nymph Io is transformed into the goddess Isis, after the god Jupiter falls in love with her and she is tormented by his jealous wife Juno. The story created a scandal at court, when it was assumed to be a metaphor about royal favouritism and jealous competition between two of Louis XIV’s mistresses. “Aimons sans cesse” takes place in Act 3, in a scene where the god Pan pursues the nymph Syrinx, attempting to convince her to become his lover, and their followers debate the pleasures and pains of loving without restraint. Chorus 1: a gathering of satyrs, shepherds, forest dwellers, and Pan. Chorus 2: a group of nymphs led by Syrinx, who is being chased by Pan. C1: C2:
Aimons sans cesse. N’aimons jamais.
Cédons à l’amour qui nous presse. Pour vivre heureux, aimons sans cesse.
Pour vivre en paix, n’aimons jamais.
Aimons sans cesse. N’aimons jamais.
Le chagrin suit toujours les coeurs que l’amour blesse.
Let us love without ceasing. Let us never love! Let us give in to love which urges us on. To live in happiness, love always. To live in peace, never love. Always love! Never love! Grief always follows those whose hearts have been wounded by love.
La tranquille sagesse n’a que des plaisirs imparfaits.
Aimons sans cesse. N’aimons jamais.
Quiet wisdom oﬀers but imperfect pleasures. Always love! Never love!
Syrinx: On ne peut aimer sans faiblesse. Pan:
You can’t love without being weak.
Que cette faiblesse a d’attraits.
But that weakness has its attractions.
Syrinx: Faut-il qu’en vain discours un si beau jour se passe? Mes compagnes, courons dans le fond des forêts. Voyons qui d’entre nous se sert mieux de ses traits. Courons à la chasse! All:
Courons à la chasse!
Oﬀ to the chase!
Syrinx: Pourquoi me suivre de si près? Pan:
Why are you following me so closely?
Pourquoi fuir qui vous aime?
Why are you running from the one who loves you?
Syrinx: Un amant m’embarasse! All:
A lover would embarrass me!
Courons à la chasse!
O Saving Victim (2003)
Why spend such a beautiful day in hopeless discourse? Companions, let us run deep into the forest. We’ll see who among us is the best! Let’s go hunting!
Oﬀ to the chase!
Zachary Wadsworth (1983)
Solos | Ann Chen, Hilary Ison, William Liu, Nick Sommer
Text by Thomas Aquinas
O Saving Victim opening wide The gate of heaven to us below; Our foes press on from every side, Thine aid supply; thy strength bestow.
All praise and thanks to thee ascend For evermore, blest One in Three; O grant us life that shall not end In our true native land with thee.
O Saving Victim is a setting of a text by Thomas Aquinas, commemorating Christ’s sacrifice and role in reconciling sinners to God through the ritual of communion. Christ’s Passion (or “suffering”) and love is the bridge that allows followers to be forgiven and enter Heaven. The hymn is a song of divine adoration and hope for the afterlife.
Described as “vivid, vital, and prismatic,” Zachary Wadsworth’s music covers subjects from sacred texts to the AIDS crisis, in compositions for solo voice, choir and opera. Educated at Cornell, Yale and the Eastman School of Music, Wadsworth has had residences at the Metropolitan Opera and Santa Fe Opera, as well as taught at the University of Calgary, and currently at Williams College. His awardwinning Out of the South Cometh the Whirlwind was performed for Queen Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey. His work has been featured in many recordings, including And He’ll Be Mine; Love Songs By Gay American Composers and The Far West, a cantata for tenor solo, chorus and orchestra which explores the intersections of faith, mortality, reconciliation and hope in the poetry of Tim Dlugos, a divinity student who died of AIDS in 1990.
Fly Away I (2012)
Caroline Shaw (1982)
Solo | Nick Sommer
Caroline Adelaide Shaw is a New York-based musician. She is the youngest ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, for her enigmatic composition Partita for 8 Voices. Her career defies categorization— she performs as a violin soloist, chamber musician, and as a vocalist in the Grammy-winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth. Recent commissions include works for Carnegie Hall, the Guggenheim Museum, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra with Jonathan Biss, and mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter. She also frequently collaborates with Kanye West. Currently a doctoral candidate at Princeton, Caroline also studied at Rice and Yale. No stranger to Vancouver, Shaw was the composer in residence for groundbreaking local performance series, Music on Main, from 2014 to 2016. The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival also brought Shaw and Roomful of Teeth to Vancouver audiences in 2016.
Ubi Caritas (2011)
David Conte (1955)
Solo | Elyse Kantonen David Conte is an American composer of operas, choral music, solo voice, orchestra, and solo instrument. Frequently commissioned, he has written works for Chanticleer, The San Francisco Symphony Chorus, the Golden Gate Men’s Chorus, and the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. As a Fullbright Fellowship recipient, he lived and worked with iconic composer Aaron Copland and studied with Nadia Boulanger. He is chair of the composition department at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. His operas deal with interpersonal and political themes, including his exploration of the LGBT social justice movement in his opera, Stonewall. The text of Ubi Caritas is from a Christian hymn, traditionally sung to commemorate the ritual washing of the feet on Maundy Thursday in remembrance of the Last Supper. In the Western Christian tradition, foot washing is a symbol of humility, but the pre-Christian practice it commemorates was a common act of hospitality for someone welcoming guests into their home. Conte’s lush harmonies invite us to join together in charity, love and welcome.
I’ll ﬂy away I went the way the way the way I went the way the way the way the way the way I went where you are When I die Hallelujah by and by I’ll ﬂy away
Fly Away I is a deconstruction of the classic American folk song, written as a reaction to the commercialization of the country music industry. The piece also explores Shaw’s interest in the synthesis of old and new forms, what separates new music performance from works in the historical canon, and the long history of borrowing and reinvention of melodies in classical composition. Starting with a ﬂoating and partially improvised chorus of soloists, the piece takes a wandering journey full of stops and starts, hills and valleys, until it finally comes home to “where you are” and the lyrical realization of the original folk tune.
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor. Exultemus, et in ipso jucundemur. Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum. Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero. Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. Amen.
Where charity and love are found, God is present there. We are gathered as one by Christ’s love; let us exult and be joyful in Him. Let us fear and let us love the living God, and let us love each other with a sincere heart. Where charity and love are found, God is present there. Amen.
Jeﬀrey Ryan (1962) Poem by Norma West Linder
Praised for his “masterful command of instrumental colour” (Georgia Straight) and “superb attention to rhythm” (Audio Ideas Guide), and recipient of SOCAN’s 2014 Jan V. Matejcek New Classical Music Award for career achievement, Vancouver-based Jeffrey Ryan writes music that runs the gamut from opera, art song, and choral music, to chamber and orchestral work. With awards and recognition including four JUNO nominations, his music has been commissioned, performed and recorded by orchestras, ensembles and soloists worldwide. His portrait CD Fugitive Colours (Vancouver Symphony/Gryphon Trio) launched the Naxos Canadian Classics series and won the 2012 Western Canadian Music Award for Classical Recording of the Year. As a composer who loves writing for voices, I am always on the lookout for words that inspire music in my imagination. When I found Norma West Linder’s Valediction many years ago, it immediately spoke music to me. Linder’s poem opens with its protagonist entering the garden of death, late in life, and uses plant symbolism to tell of past pain and future promise. Tulips, a symbol of courtship in many cultures, are closed; roses, a symbol of romantic love, have vanished. It is the birch tree, the symbol of renewal and rebirth, that reaches out in embrace. Musically, two related gestures—a sad yet comforting rocking, transforming into larger, joyous circular lines—serve as the building blocks of this setting for a cappella choir. Valediction was commissioned by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir.
Nursing the ancient ache of human sorrow I enter the garden at twilight But tulips are closed against me Red roses have disappeared into the shadows of doubt Only the arms of the birch tree reach out in luminous welcome ghostly white arms of the birch tree reach to encircle me Leaves whisper silver-toned secrets Sorrow drifts oﬀ on the wind Starlight brings sweet benediction World without, whirled without end
Wind Horse (1989)
Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016)
“My interest is not speciﬁcally on one kind of freedom - I would like for everyone to experience freedom and freedom of expression in their own creativity and identity, as long as it doesn’t harm someone else.”
Pauline Oliveros was an innovative and inﬂuential American composer, whose experimental work ﬂouted the traditions and purpose of music composition, performance and enjoyment, centering many of her pieces around the concept of “deep listening” and “sonic awareness.” “Deep Listening” was an artistic practice, a band and an album, all of which sprung from an experiment where Oliveros and two other musicians descended into a cistern to play improvised music, using the reverberations of their environment as an additional performer. Iconic twentieth-century composer John Cage said of Oliveros’ deep listening, “I finally know what harmony is... It’s about the pleasure of making music.” Working in mediums as diverse as magnetic tape, turntables, the human voice, interdisciplinary mixed-media performances and the accordion, Oliveros was also a humanitarian, feminist and music scholar. Oliveros died in November, 2016. Many mainstream articles at the time of her passing avoided mentioning her spouse and collaborator, artist Carole Ione Lewis (IONE), or their three children. In Tibetan tradition, the wind horse is an allegory for the soul, as well as the name of the rooftop ﬂags meant to carry prayers for good fortune up to heaven on the wind. The wind horse is typically depicted in the centre of four other animals, who represent the four directions. Oliveros’ score of Wind Horse consists simply of a mandala where different actions, in sets of four, surround the central action of listening. The score describes how performers should interpret the mandala: Wind Horse is a chorus based on listening and responding in a variety of ways and using the Wind Horse mandala as a kind of map for organizing and creating the performance. From the center circle marked Listen each individual performer chooses her own optional pathways, returning to the center circle at any time. The length of time spent on any circle could be as little as a comfortable breath or many breaths. The total performance time is approximate and may be pre-determined or not.
For Oliveros, everything came back to listening. In love - both romantic love and love of the greater human community - listening is essential. Listening to others, one’s self, and to the surrounding world enables us to have the freedom she envisioned: one of multiplicity, individual expression and community healing.
Love partakes of the soul itself (2016)
Shane Raman (1978) Text from Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Shane Raman is a Vancouver-based composer, baritone and instructor who has performed in many of the city’s ensembles, notably musica intima, Vancouver Cantata Singers and Cor Flammae. He also teaches at the Sarah McLachlan School of Music. Raman explains his composition: Inspired by a passage from Victor Hugo’s novel, Les Misérables, Hugo describes love as incorruptible, indivisible, imperishable, immortal, inﬁnite, and limitless. I wanted this piece to feel very intimate, and to express the transcendence of an intimate love to a vast and diverse community. A 5-part rondo, the expression of intimacy is in the heartbeat-like ostinato sung by the altos and tenors, surrounded by the mirrored melodies in the soprano and bass. This mirrored melody suggests the duality of love as it exists between all of us in its consistent and divergent nature. It is both an expression of personal love, and hope for a world where the characteristics of an indivisible and imperishable love will strengthen our personal relationships and lead to the growth of peace in our world. This piece was composed for the wedding of Adam and Shane, dedicated to Adam Dickson, and premiered on our wedding day, October 1 2016. I am so grateful to Cor Flammae for programming my compositions, especially this piece that means so much to me.
Love partakes of the soul itself. It is of the same nature. Like it, it is a divine spark, like it, it is incorruptible, indivisible, imperishable, it is the point of ﬁre which is within us, which is immortal and inﬁnite, which nothing can limit and nothing can extinguish.
“Twelfth Madrigal” (1956)
Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007)
From The Unicorn, The Gorgon & The Manticore
Though known as a champion of late Romantic stage music, Gian Carlo Menotti wove threads of folk culture into many of his compositions. His crowning achievement of the fantastical and the folk was his set of twelve madrigals and instrumental interludes, The Unicorn, the Gorgon, and the Manticore or, The Three Sundays of a Poet. Modeled after a medieval bestiary and Orazio Vecchi’s renaissance madrigal comedy L’Amﬁparnaso, Menotti’s “madrigal fable” consists of an introduction, twelve madrigals a cappella, six instrumental interludes and originally included twelve dancers bound together in a narrative tapestry. The Unicorn pushes against the inﬂexible style markers, monolithic representations of gender, and univocality valued in Italian Romanticism. It is a story of the shifting character of a poet, from innocence and purity (the unicorn), to worldly self-satisfaction (the gorgon), to meekness (the manticore). Menotti resists the rigid expectations for a male composer of late-Romantic dramatic stage music when he looks to magic, nature, and animals as moral exemplars rather than historical wars or politics. A large part of the The Unicorn devotes time to the various reactions of the townsfolk, who at first mock the poet for his fantastical pets, and then acquire their own, only to kill off the beasts when a new creature becomes more popular. While representing Menotti’s turbulent relationship with his critics, it also paints the picture of an outsider narrative where the misunderstood poet is demonized by a moblike, fashion-obsessed society who react with aggression towards the unknown.
Menotti considered the twelfth and final madrigal his most melancholic choral composition; it was later performed at the funeral of his partner of over 40 years, Samuel Barber, in 1981. (The Man in the Castle on his deathbed, surrounded by the Unicorn, the Gorgon, and the Manticore.) Oh foolish people who feign to feel what other men have suﬀered. You, not I, are the indiﬀerent killers of the Poet’s dreams. How could I destroy the pain wrought children of my fancy? What would my life have been without their faithful and harmonious company? Unicorn, My youthful foolish Unicorn, please do not hide, come close to me. And you, my Gorgon, behind whose splendor I hid the doubts of my midday, you, too, stand by. And here is my shy and lonely Manticore, who gracefully leads me to my grave. Farewell. Equally well I loved you all. Although the world may not suspect it, all remains intact within the Poet’s heart. Farewell. Not even death I fear as in your arms I die. Farewell.
Light: Unveiled (2014)
Hussein Janmohamed (1969)
One of Cor Flammae’s inaugural conductors, Hussein Janmohamed is a Toronto-based choral conductor, composer, clinician and presenter. As a composer, he creates intercultural choral works rooted in Muslim sonic landscapes. He currently sings with distinguished Canadian ensemble, the Elmer Iseler Singers. Light: Unveiled was commissioned by the Aga Khan Museum for the Ismaili Centre Toronto Opening Ceremony, and premiered by the Elmer Iseler Singers and Guest Ismaili Singers in 2014. Janmohamed says of the piece: I drew inspiration from Ayat an-Nur (24:35) – Verse of Light from the Qur’an and the concepts of light that guided the architectural design. I am captivated by the nature of light and what it might sound like. Light can be a wave or a particle, or both. Light can be diﬀused or concentrated. Light, no matter how you slice it, is still light. White light through a prism becomes many, but it’s still all one light. In the music you will hear moments where all voices come to one note, split into many, interact with each other, then come back to one – like one soul from which the diversity of all humankind comes and returns. Light: Unveiled traces a melodic contour based on Qur’an recitation. Drones (present in so many world cultures) create tension and symbolize separation from Divine heart – from which we come and shall return. Wave-like, the melody emerges into light with the statement of Nurun ‘ala Nur (Light upon Light). “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by ﬁre. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things.”
- Qur’an 24:35
Nurun A’la Nur
Light upon Light
Samuel Barber was a prolific and celebrated American composer of orchestral, choral, opera and piano work, popularly known for his Adagio for Strings (1936). His family was musical, and he studied piano and composed from a young age. At age nine, he “came out” as a composer to his mother in a letter: Dear Mother: I have written this to tell you my worrying secret. Now don’t cry when you read it because it is neither yours nor my fault. I suppose I will have to tell it now without any nonsense. To begin with I was not meant to be an athlet [sic]. I was meant to be a composer, and will be I’m sure...
He entered the Curtis Institute of Music at age 14, and which is where he met Gian Carlo Menotti, who was to become his romantic partner for over 40 years. Menotti’s “Twelfth Madrigal” (featured earlier in this concert) was performed at Barber’s funeral in 1981.
Samuel Barber (1910-1981)
Agnus Dei (1967)
At age twenty-six, on summer studies in Europe with Menotti, Barber composed what some have called “the saddest music ever written.” Recognizable from the famous scene in Platoon and elsewhere in film and TV, Barber’s critically acclaimed Adagio for Strings is an iconic twentieth-century work that has entered the popular awareness far beyond the classical music world. Agnus Dei is the choral version of this famous piece, which Barber set to text from the Latin Mass in 1967. Many scholars have wondered what gave Barber the ability to tap into this intuitive sorrow - some have postulated that the alienation of being closeted contributed to a melancholy which could only be expressed through his music. Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
The Lamb of God, Who took the sins of the world, Have mercy upon us.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
The Lamb of God, Who took the sins of the world, Have mercy upon us.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.
The Lamb of God, Who took the sins of the world, Grant us peace.
Oracle of Spring (2012)
Mari Esabel Valverde (1987) Poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Mari Esabel Valverde is an American composer, singer, translator and educator who identifies as transgender. She has written many commissions, including for Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA) and the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, as well as the American Choral Directors Association and the Texas Music Educators Association. In 2016, she was a featured composer at the GALA Festival, and her works have been performed at festivals in the US and UK. She speaks French, Spanish, Portuguese and Swedish.
Hear! a loving pair demand At the altar soon to stand; They are in the bloom of youth, Full of love, and full of truth. Say, will it be soon or late? How long will they have to wait? Hark! cuckoo! hark! cuckoo! Silent now? ’tis only two! Mine is not the fault, nor hers, Patience but for two more years! But, when we are one become, Will pa pa papas e’er come? We’ll rejoice if thou but criest,
À la claire fontaine (1992)
And us many prophesiest, One! cuckoo! two! cuckoo! And again, cuckoo, cuckoo, coo. If we counted rightly, near Half a dozen ’twould appear. Wilt thou, if fair words we give, Say how long we have to live? True, we fain would, if we can, Live life’s very longest span. Coo, cuckoo, coo, cuckoo, Cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo.
Cuckoo, thou prophetic bird, Blossom-songster! hear the word Of a youthful loving pair, In the sweetest time of year, Do, thou charming warbler, thou, May they hope? sing to them now, Thy cuckoo, thy cuckoo, And again cuckoo, cuckoo.
Oracle of Spring is set to a poem by German poet, novelist, science writer, artist and politician, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Valverde describes her composition, “The ‘oracle’ is a lively bird, very active in announcing the arrival of spring through its song.” The work is “madrigal-like in style, contemporary in feeling.” The text jubilantly celebrates the arrival of spring, wondering if the love sparked that season will last for the coming years.
Life is a great jubilee When it cannot reckoned be. If we e’er old age attain, Will our faithful love remain? O, if that should e’er be o’er, Nought on earth were lovely more: Coo, cuckoo, coo, cuckoo, Cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo
arr. Stephen Smith (1966) Traditional Canadian Folk Song (Quebec)
Stephen Smith grew up in rural Nova Scotia, where he sang and played the piano from an early age. After initial studies in his home province in both piano and organ, he attended the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England. Since 1990, Stephen has lived in Vancouver, obtaining his doctoral degree in piano performance from the University of British Columbia and contributing to the musical life of the city as a performer, teacher, composer, choral conductor and adjudicator. His choral arrangements and compositions have been performed and recorded by choirs from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Seoul, South Korea. À la claire fontaine is a traditional Canadian folk song from Quebec, with roots dating back to the first French settlement in 1604 or earlier. While nightingales are not native to North America, they are common images associated with love and poetry in French folklore and appear as symbols in European and Middle Eastern literature, from Oscar Wilde’s children’s stories to Persian fables.
The composer says this of his composition: The piece was written in 1992 as one of a set of three Canadian folksong arrangements. The set was premiered the following year by the Vancouver Chorale under the direction of Jon Washburn, and won honourable mention in the fourth Melodious Accord International Composition Search. In 2000, musica intima recorded the arrangement for their CD “clear,” and the track was later made into a music video for the Bravo! Network.
À la claire fontaine, M’en allant promener J’ai trouvé l’eau si belle Que je m’y suis baigné Refrain: Lui ya longtemps que je t’aime Jamais je ne t’oublierai Sous les feuilles d’un chêne, Je me suis fait sécher Sur la plus haute branche, Un rossignol chantait (Refrain) Chante rossignol, chante, Toi qui as le cœur gai Tu as le cœur à rire, Moi je l’ai t’à pleurer (Refrain)
At the clear spring, As I was strolling by, I found the water so nice That I went in to bathe. Chorus: It’s so long I’ve been loving you, That I’ll never forget you. Under an oak tree, I dried myself. On the highest branch A nightingale was singing. (Chorus) Sing, nightingale, sing, Your heart is so happy. Your heart feels like laughing, Mine feels like weeping. (Chorus)
“Les tisserands” (1946)
Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) “You know that I am just as sincere in my faith, without any messianic screaming, as I am in my Parisian sexuality.”
One of the 20th Century’s most inﬂuential composers, Francis Poulenc was a complex figure compelled in equal parts by his love affairs with men and his devout Christianity. At times troubled by the “impurity” he saw in same-sex desire, it was nonetheless a deep part of his life and artistic work, finding inspiration from the men and women he loved. A member of the group of French Composers known as Les Six, Poulenc was interested in exploring the techniques of the Dada movement, and created striking pieces that challenged Parisian musical fashions. “Les tisserands” is the final piece from Poulenc’s Chansons françaises, a set of eight folk songs composed in 1946 reﬂecting the patriotic sentiment of the postwar period by revisiting the French chanson tradition. The original folk songs were commonly known, and by using them as his source material, Poulenc evoked happier, pre-war times. The titular weavers in “Les tisserands” enjoy the pleasures of love and life without thought for consequences, as they know that “in plying the shuttle, good times will come.” The weavers are worse than the bishops: Every Monday they have a jolly time. And tip and tap, and tip and tap, Is it too coarse? Is it too ﬁne? Late in bed, early to rise, In plying the shuttle good times will come.
Tous les lundis ils s’en font une fête. Et le mardi ils ont mal à la tête. Le mercredi ils vont charger leur pièce. Et le jeudi ils vont voir leur maîtresse. Le vendredi ils travaillent sans cesse. Le samedi la pièce n’est pas faite. Et le dimanche il faut de l’argent maître.
Every Monday they have a jolly time. On Tuesday they have a headache. On Wednesday they go to load their looms. On Thursday they go to see their mistress. On Friday they work without ceasing. On Saturday their work is not quite ﬁnished. And on Sunday money is needed, master.
Les tisserands sont pir’ que les évèques: Tous les lundis ils s’en font une fête. Et tipe et tape et tipe et tape, est-il trop gros, est-il trop ﬁn. Et couchés tard, levés matin. En roulant la navette le beau temps viendra.
Dance to your Shadow (2016) Piano: Leslie Uyeda
arr. Leslie Uyeda (1953) Traditional Scottish Folk Song
In August of 2013, Cor Flammae’s founders attended Canada’s first lesbian opera, WHEN THE SUN COMES OUT by Leslie Uyeda (with libretto by Vancouver’s current Poet Laureate Rachel Rose), and were inspired to create a choral group of the same high classical calibre. Thus, it is a thrill to be conducted by Uyeda this year, and to premiere her new arrangement, Dance to your Shadow. During 20 years in opera, Leslie Uyeda worked as a coach, pianist and conductor with the Canadian Opera Company, L’Opera de Montreal, Manitoba Opera, Opera Hamilton, the Banff Centre and the Chautauqua Institute of Music in New York. She also collaborated with some of Canada’s best singers, performing recitals with Tracy Dahl, Richard Margison, Brett Polegato, Wendy Neilsen, Heather Pawsey, Liping Zhang, Jean Stilwell and Viviane Houle. After moving to Vancouver, Uyeda became Chorus Music Director at Vancouver Opera, where she also conducted several mainstage productions. Uyeda started composing at a very young age. A few years ago she left her positions at Vancouver Opera and the University of British Columbia to compose full time. The composer describes discovering the text to Dance to your Shadow, and the plucky joie-de-vivre of the heroine in this traditional Scottish folk song, which expresses a jubilant love of life regardless of its ever changing nature:
Dance to your shadow when it’s good to be lively, lass. Dance to your shadow when there’s nothing better near you. Dance to your shadow when it’s ﬁne to be living, lad. Dance to your shadow when there’s nothing better near you.
I found Dance to your Shadow in Volume III of Songs of the Hebrides, a marvellous series of Scottish folksongs collected, edited and arranged for voice and piano by Margery Kennedy-Fraser, with English translations from the original Gaelic by Kenneth Macleod. Here’s the story behind this song, as told to Kennedy-Fraser: “But Mary Macrae heeded not, and went on in her own way, singing her songs and ballads, intoning her hymns and incantations, and chanting her own port-a-bial - mouth music, and dancing to her own shadow when nothing better was available.” Irresistible! The refrain “Ho ro haradal, Hind ye, haradal, Ho ro haradal, Hind ye, han dan” is untranslatable.
Ho ro haradal, Hind ye haradal, Ho ro haradal, Hind ye han dan. Ho ro haradal, Hind ye haradal, Ho ro haradal, Hind ye han dan. Dance to your shadow when it’s hard to be living, lass. Dance to your shadow when there’s nothing better near you. Dance to your shadow when it’s sore to be living, lad. Dance to your shadow when there’s nothing better near you. Ho ro haradal, Hind ye haradal, Ho ro haradal, Hind ye han dan. Ho ro haradal, Hind ye haradal, Ho ro haradal, Hind ye han dan. Dance to your shadow and let fate play your ﬁddle now Dance to your shadow when there’s no one you love near you. Dance to your shadow for it’s ﬁne to be living now. Dance to your shadow when there’s nothing better near you. Ho ro haradal, Hind ye haradal, Ho ro haradal, Hind ye han dan. Ho ro haradal, Hind ye haradal, Ho ro haradal, Hind ye han dan.
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CO_COMA_0176_NEW_InfoSession Ad_CorFlammae_6x3 6.5” x 3.9” June 2017 Cor Flammae Program MUSIC